People with Disability a Priority for Australia’s Aid Program

25 November 2008

The Australian Government has for the first time made people with disability
a priority for Australia’s international development program.

Parliamentary Secretary for International Development Assistance, Bob
McMullan, will today launch Australia’s first strategy to guide Australia’s
aid program in supporting people with a disability in the developing world.

An estimated 10 per cent of the world’s population, or around 650 million
people, live with a disability. Of these, about 80 per cent live in
developing countries.

“Australia is committed to including people with disability in the fight
against global poverty and supporting them to improve the quality of their
lives,” Mr McMullan said.

“People with a disability are among the poorest and most vulnerable in
developing countries,” he said.

The new strategy, ‘Development for All’, aims to improve quality of life for
people with disabilities, strengthen prevention efforts and promote
international leadership on disability and development.

It also seeks to improve understanding of disability and development across
the Asia Pacific region.

“With good leadership, attitudes towards people with disability can change,
services can be improved and people’s lives can be transformed
– not only the lives of the person with a disability, but their families and
those around them,” Mr McMullan said.

People with a disability face many barriers preventing them from
participating in society, and are more likely to be socially excluded.
Women and children with disability often face the greatest challenges.

The Australian Government recognises that poverty and disability are linked
and is committed to ensuring that the benefits of development reach those
who are most excluded.

Australia has recently ratified the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons
with Disabilities, and, in addition to launching the strategy is also
preparing a national disability policy to be released in 2009.

Media Contact: Sabina Curatolo (Mr McMullan’s Office) 0400 318 205 AusAID
Public Affairs 0417 680 590

Reproduced from